Democracy Decline in EU Member States and EU Neighbours: Is the EU Helpless?

Panel Code
Open Panel

In many states in the world, including the EU and its neighbourhood, we can observe the phenomenon called most often “de-democratization”, “democracy decline” or “democratic backsliding”. It has many faces – it can be about lowering the quality of democracy but sometimes also the situation close (if not identical) to the change of the regime – to a less democratic one.
It is often associated in the literature with the process of de-Europeanization. In the context of democratization it is connected with the frequent distancing from the European democratic values, rules and procedures. In practice it means often the reversal of previous reforms or conducting them without reference to the EU standards of liberal democracy. However, the de-Europeanization is also often associated with the weakening EU capabilities to react to the changes in (of) political regimes.
The aim of the panel is to investigate if the EU is really helpless in reacting to democracy decline – both in the EU members (such as Hungary, Poland or Romania) and its neighbours which either aspire to be the EU members in the future (Turkey, Western Balkan states) or want to have close ties with the EU (ENP countries), taking into consideration the current state of affairs.
The following questions will be posed: Are the current instruments and procedures in the EU insufficient and ineffective in response to the democracy decline in EU members (e.g. infringement procedures, art. 7 TEU) or countries within the EU enlargement and the ENP (mechanisms led by conditionality)? If so, what is needed to change this situation? What are the key problems for the EU to act effectively? What is the impact of particular EU institutions in the case in question – the European Commission, the European Parliament or the Court of Justice of the EU?
All of these, and more questions will be answered in the panel, which can include both empirical studies (single case studies and comparative analyses) and more theoretical papers trying to answer the question if the current theoretical framework is sufficient to explain the EU problems concerning the impact on the political regimes.